Celebrating the genius of Van Gogh

Once upon a time in Arles I found myself sitting in a Café Terrace along with my late husband Don. It is a memory that I will treasure forever. It was as if we were in a dream. On that starry night it became clear to me how someone could be so inspired to paint.  It was here in Arles, a city on the Rhône River in the Provence region of southern France (once a provincial capital of ancient Rome), that Vincent Van Gogh famously found inspiration to paint.

Yes; it was exactly as in the famous painting.  Except for the plumbing, nothing had changed.

IMAGINE you are in a dream, and in that dream you find yourself surrounded by the most breathtaking scenery you’ve ever envisioned while listening to hauntingly beautiful symphony. And as you move along, the scenery keeps changing and you’re engulfed by images that transport you to another time and place.  A place you would prefer to stay in for as long as you can. A place with sunflowers, sunshine, cafes, color, possibilities and extremes. 

This, in so few words, pretty much sums up Imagine Van Gogh that is now taking place at the new convention center in downtown Vancouver. An exhibit unlike any other. 

On this page you get a glimpse of the works (all photos taken by me – d. king) although it’s much better to be there in person for the total sensory experience.

After a tremendous success in Paris, Imagine Van Gogh opened in Montréal in 2019 followed by Québec and Winnipeg in 2020, and Vancouver, Edmonton and Boson in 2021. Visitors discover more than 200 of Van Gogh’s paintings, including his most famous works, painted between 1888 and 1890 in Provence, Arles and Auvers-sur-Oise.
For tickets:
 

Mod Monday Mood

The Next Best Thing to Being There…

Looking for something different to do this week?  Check out these streaming programs that take you into the private spaces and historic places that make Palm Springs a true “Mecca of Modernism.

Architectural Driving Tour of Palm Springs: a fun and informative “top down” architectural tour of Palm Springs from a 1966 convertible Mustang. Get a sneak peek inside a few of the best MCM homes in town! (45 min):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4VaTZdv1cM&feature=youtu.be

The popular video series returns with a brand-new edition, just for the Modernism Week Online Experience!

Come inside some of Palm Springs’ most significant homes. The video series will take you into *5 fabulous Palm Springs homes, where you will walk through the interiors, gardens and grounds and see what makes Palm Springs desert architecture and lifestyle unique. You’ll learn about important architectural and design details, unique furnishings and meet the homeowners or other special guests knowledgable about the property. Your host will be the curator of the selected homes, Modernism Week Board Member Maureen Erbe.

*The houses include The Morse Residence (by Hal Levitt, 1961), The Cahuilla Hills House by O’Donnell + Escalante (by Lance O’Donnell, 2009), The Southridge Glass House (by William Cody, 1963), Trina Turk’s Ship of the Desert (by Erle Webster and Adrian Wilson, 1936), and Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s Villa Grigio (by James McNaughton, 1963). Special thanks to presenting sponsor Dunn-Edwards.

The homes will be located in various neighborhoods in Palm Springs, all with unique architectural character and featuring a variety of architectural styles.

Thank you to our presenting sponsor Dunn-Edwards Paints.  Cost: $45 – A digital keepsake tour program is included with your ticket purchase.

The organizer of this program is Modernism Week. This program is streaming through March 31, 2021.

Check out the 53 minute sneak peek below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ySHDRXTHK8&feature=youtu.be

Previous Post on one of my Modernism home tours (a peek behind the hedges):

https://girlwhowouldbeking.com/2017/02/22/lifestyle-a-peek-behind-the-hedges/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Artful Photography of Janet Slater

Capturing the ordinary and making it extraordinary.

This in a nutshell is what best describes the photography of Janet Slater.  You can see for yourself in the splattering of her work shown here on this site.

I had the pleasure of meeting Janet this past summer in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.  We had dinner at a mutual friend’s house.  I was amazed at her creativity, imagination and ability to capture small details.  It’s the small details that an experienced photographer uses to capture emotion and turns it into an art form. And so, it’s not just another sunset, another beach shot…you get the picture (pun intended).

Janet shows a lot of diversity on her web page so I had to pick and choose which ones to showcase here.  That alone was a challenge.  Her interest runs the gamut of architecture, nature, ballet, bridges and barns…and more.

Did you know that it wasn’t until the 1940’s that photography was accepted as an art form?

Alfred Stieglitz ( American photographer, Author; The Photographer’s Eye, Art Dealer 1864-1946) is credited with getting photography accepted as an art form.

Obviously a different effort put forward than painting or sculpting, although the capture is what defines the art.

It’s the peaceful moments in a noisy world. The element of surprise and the unexpected. It’s the calm before the storm, the water droplets, the perfect and imperfect smiles and a sparkle in the eyes; these are some of the short-lasting emotional moments that makes every photographer’s dream shot.

Janet was awarded the FCAPA (Fellowship in the Canadian Association for Photographic Art). A high honour in recognition of her high standard of photographic  achievement. More on the link below.

You can browse more of her work and also make a purchase at:

https://janetslaterphotography.smugmug.com/browse

FCAPA Award at:

https://capacanada.ca/janet-slater-awarded-fcapa/

December Daze

Lumière 2020                Photo: d. king

 LUMIERE IS A SERIES OF ARTWORKS INSPIRED BY LIGHT AND ARTISTIC EXPRESSION.

We enjoyed the colourful display of public interactive artworks in Vancouver’s West End during the day and also in the evening.  Something festive and uplifting.  It ended November 30th.

Davie the Bear and an Orca Whale. Standing at 24 feet tall, ‘Davie’ is a bright, inquisitive and playful grizzly bear.  He joins a series of other nature inspired art works at English Bay that pay homage to BC’s wilderness.  Davie hopes to shine a light on the story of BC’s grizzlies.  For more info you can visit: http://www.grizzlybearfoundation.com            Photos: d. king

Stanley Park is home to one of the largest urban Great Blue Heron colonies in North America. These majestic birds have been nesting in various locations in Stanley Park as far back as 1921. Created by MK Illumination, standing 13 feet tall and boasting 10,320 lights, the heron pays tribute to Stanley Park’s Great Blue Heron colony.  It is an amazing sight to see these birds building their nests.  Photo: d. king

What the World Needs Now            Photos: d. king

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – at Vancouver Art Gallery     Photo: d. king

Bute St., Vancouver     Photo: d. king

 

 

 

 

 

Remember This December, That love weighs more than gold!   – Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

ART/Film Reviews

MY REMBRANDT and MARCEL DUCHAMP: the Art of the Possible – part of Vancouver International Film Festival’s (VIFF) Music/Art/Design series.

MY REMBRANDT

This documentary lets us in on how the materially privileged, despite possible pretenses to the contrary, lust over rare “objets d’art.”   Does their material desire to possess rare works of art amount to little more than the fleeting privilege of being able to flaunt their worldly status and/or smarts to others, or is it for national  glorification?  Perhaps both.

It successfully parts the privacy curtain and offers us a peek behind it into the lives of Europeans with old wealth, an American with new wealth and big state-sponsored art gallery curators in Holland and France and elsewhere.

The idea is simply that the documentary isn’t just an art film about Rembrandt paintings aimed at the art crowd. It’s a documentary that not only offers insight into the ruthlessness that can play out in the high stakes international art world when it comes to finding and buying masterpieces; it also offers insight into Europe’s first selfies, in that only the wealthy could afford to commission artists to render their portraits for posterity.

From the VIFF Catalogue:

One of the “old masters,” Rembrandt van Rijn is considered one of the greatest painters of all time, and in the elite world of art collectors, his work is – almost – priceless. Oeke Hoogendijk’s captivating and elegant doc is both an enchanting glimpse behind the curtain of this privileged universe, and also a deep dive into an art mystery that rocked Rembrandt fans across the globe.

From a Scottish duke’s personal affection for a coveted portrait, to an American couple who have tried to get their hands on as many of the artist’s paintings as possible, Hoogendijk reveals what “my” Rembrandt means to each – nostalgia, heritage, beauty, obsession and, for many, the satisfaction of exclusive ownership. My Rembrandt also details the heated legal battles that proprietorship can entail. The film follows the youngest Jan Six (whose forefather Rembrandt painted), an art dealer convinced that he has found two previously undiscovered Rembrandts – a bold claim that, like everything in the art world, doesn’t come without a price.

Marcel Duchamp: The Art of the Possible

What makes a work of art “art”? Good question. Should it not be in the eye of the beholder?

Marcel Duchamp, who was regarded as “the godfather of modern conceptual art”, challenges this question. You might say he pushed the limitations of the definition of art by focusing on the observer of the art.

Born in the late 1800s in a small town in Normandy, Duchamp would go on to almost single-handedly revolutionize the art world with his fascination with the “fourth dimension” and developments in science, technology and mathematics.  His unusual works were initially shunned and misunderstood by the mainstream, but later incorporated into pioneering movements like Cubism and abstract expressionism.

From the VIFF Catalogue:

The Art of the Possible is a mesmerising account of Duchamp’s life and work, showing how his radical rejection of 19th century ideals paved the way for innovation in dance, literature, music and the visual arts. An impressive array of experts and researchers bring Duchamp’s legacy to the fore, as archival footage reveals a charismatic – at times cheeky – visionary who was light years ahead of his time.

Marina Abramovic and Jeff Koons are among the artists and experts celebrating his life and work.

Presented by The Audain Foundation

Of these two documentaries, I much preferred “My Rembrandt”

Until October 7th you can order tickets to stream online with VIFF Connect:

https://viff.org/

 

Vancouver International Film Festival 2020 (VIFF) Online

VIFF 2020 starts tomorrow

This film festival is something I look forward to attending and blogging about every year.  The lineup has always been excellent and it’s nice to sit with and bump into the same familiar faces. No doubt this time is going to be different.  The familiarity of sharing a cinematic experience with a crowd is on hold for now and we’ll all be happy when things return to normal and we’re able to sit together again.  So until then…

British Columbia’s biggest annual celebration of cinema is just around the corner.

From Noon on September 24 to October 7th, film lovers province-wide will enjoy over 100 feature films and events showcasing exciting, groundbreaking and provocative cinema and creators from around the globe.

You’ll be able to watch this year’s stellar line-up from the comfort of your home via VIFF Connect, VIFF’s new online streaming platform. For the first time, audiences across BC can watch VIFF curated cinema and viewers around the world can tune into our Talks and Conferences.

Stay in the Loop

SIGN UP FOR VIFF NEWS  

Check out the amazing films/documentaries/talks:

viff.org

 

Jim Carrey’s Memoirs and Misinformation

In the mood to read a warped Hollywood memoir?  

A fiction loosely based on fact…Or;

It could be fact loosely fabricated in fiction. We may never fully grasp where reality starts and the falsehoods end.  And that is the intent.  For obvious reasons.

It might make more sense when you realize the semi-autobiographical book was co-written by one of Hollywood’s funniest, most interesting, diverse and complicated characters.  A person smarter and much more spiritual than you’d care to imagine, and one proficient painter to boot – Jim Carrey who never fails to surprise and astonish with his accomplishments.  Now a book: Memoirs and Misinformation.

Jim co-wrote the book with “Mergers and Acquisitions” author Dana Vachon. The actor previewed the book in a new interview with The New York Times ahead of its July publication, revealing that the writers spent the last eight years working on the project

The book is presented as a mad fever dream starring Jim Carrey, incorporating morsels of autobiography with adventures involving Nicolas Cage, Kelsey Grammer, Taylor Swift, Anthony Hopkins, Goldie Hawn, Sean Penn, and many more.  The names are changed and he has apparently forewarned all actors as to whom they may be referred to as in his book… fully aware that a few of them may not be so pleased.

Hollywood through dusty rose colored lenses.  

I was fortunate to be in Jim’s company on at least four occasions.  An intimate dinner for five, a small Malibu wedding where he was best man & master of ceremony, and two parties.  I found him to be quite affable, naturally funny, intelligent and surprisingly down to earth in a slightly guarded way. I felt comfortable in his presence; after all, he is a fellow Canadian. Even though I admire everything he does, I made sure not to invade his privacy as I was there as a guest.  Friend of a mutual friend. I also got the distinct impression he was looking for a higher purpose.  And a sense of I belong herehow did I get here? 

Through sheer talent and dedication he realized all of his dreams and then some. Very few of us ever achieve that in our lifetime.  Now the search for meaning in Hollywood years after acting success must have been the aspiration for this book.  

Press Release:

If you really like Jim Carrey, stick out the insanity for the pearls of comic fantasy and the nuggets of memoir gold.

 “They say his empire was ruined by the same psychosis that found him, at the end, driving around Tucson with a loaded Uzi on his lap, ranting in word salad, high on methamphetamine.” This remark is made about a fictional celebrity guru named Natchez Gushue, but when you encounter it in Chapter 2 you may wonder if it also applies to the creators of this book.

Carrey and collaborator Vachon pull out all the stops as their protagonist Jim Carrey careens from midlife blues through love and career complications toward the apocalypse. (The actual apocalypse, in which the world ends.) “He was nearing fifty, his fans aging, too. His talent was such that Hollywood could not replace him in its usual way, the kind of body snatching that saw Emma Stone swapped in for Lindsay Lohan, Leonardo DiCaprio taking over for River Phoenix.” The question is, should he stage his comeback with “Disney’s Untitled Play-Doh Fun Factory Project” or with a star turn as Mao Zedong in a biopic by Charlie Kaufman?

Mixing the memoir with the misinformation, as the title suggests, is not the clearest or most powerful way Carrey might have presented the story of his life. Did his parents really tell everyone to feel free to beat him, “joking but not really”? Was an affair with Linda Ronstadt in 1982 “the only truly selfless love he’d ever known”? Is the scene where Carrey remembers telling Rodney Dangerfield a joke on the older comic’s deathbed (“Don’t worry Rodney, I’m gonna let everyone know you’re really gay. That kind of thing isn’t frowned on anymore”) real?

Moments of candor and alarming or moving revelations are a bit lost in the mad rush from Hungry Hungry Hippos in Digital 3D to the end of the world, when “Cher and Dolly Parton whizzed by overhead, both singing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah.’

Makes one wonder if we ever really fully get anyone’s story?

“Memoirs and Misinformation” will be available for purchase on July 7.  Knopf publishing.         Price: ( Hardcover )$27.95 

An audiobook version of the novel will feature the voice of Carrey’s “Dumb and Dumber” co-star Jeff Daniels.  Online Publish Date: June 17, 2020 

20 NEW BOOKS to read in July to keep your spirits up:

https://ew.com/books/best-new-books-july-2020/

Fine Art Portraits: Fluffy Furballs

These remarkable photographs were taken by Stacy Jacob – of Jacob Fine Art Portraits, Palm Desert, Ca.  I wanted to share them with you.  Our canine and feline friends never looked so fine. 

I met Stacy at Yappy Hour – a monthly fundraiser for Animal Samaritans in Palm Springs which takes place at the Riviera Hotel.  She was supporting “Paws for a Cause” 2020 with a booth there and invited us to her studio for a sitting.

Jia Jia – taken 01/2020

I was thrilled to see that the portrait she took of Jia Jia really captured his spirit.  It means more to me now than ever.  I have lots of photos as you well know, however this one that Stacy took is very special.

Capturing personality, expressions and relationships is my goal for your session. Bringing joy, surprise, even some “happy” tears to so many people is something I feel lucky to get to do. I get to be part of creating a memory for someone that they’ll enjoy for years to come and share with countless others. How cool is that!? –  Stacy Jacob

Studio: 41945 Boardwalk suite d, Palm Desert, CA 92211, United States

Phone:  +1 760-678-5859

 
 

Mural in the Making – painting a story

Let me introduce you to extremely talented Canadian visual artist Kris Friesen.  Everybody has a story.  He can paint yours.

The header today is the finished mural at the Greek restaurant Koutouki in the 124 Street neighborhood of Edmonton. It depicts a colorful streetscape of busy life in restaurants and cafes in Athens.  By Kris Friesen.

I love painting split scenes that show wildlife above and below a water line. From left to right in this river mural are: a coyote, tiger salamander, Canadian toad, mallard ducks, silver redhorse, river shiner and beaver – Kris Friesen.

A smiling drummer in traditional African clothing performs in the foreground of this mural, celebrating the Kaleido festival in Edmonton – Kris Friesen.

This group portrait painting depicts four generations Canadian military service with five members of the Scott family, from the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War 1 to Combat Engineers in Afghanistan. Where the oldest generation did not meet the youngest, and a photograph would be impossible, all are painted shoulder to shoulder in this portrait – Kris Friesen.

I first met Kris about 15 years ago when my husband and I commissioned him to paint a wall on part of our outdoor courtyard after seeing his work on the outside of a gelato shop on Commercial Drive in Vancouver.

Jia Jia lying by the first mural flanked by real rocks, shells & wood flowers.  Photo: d. king

Our friend Jackie was anxious to take us to this new place for the best gelato in the city, but as good as it was we were more mesmerized by the lifelike Italian scene depicted on one whole side of the building.  The attention to detail was amazing. Actually, it was the best mural we’d seen to date and it got us thinking about how we could incorporate something personal to our own outdoor space.  So I got in touch with the shop owner who let Kris know we were interested.  Unfortunately the shop along with the mural is no longer there.

We had some ideas, Kris painted a story board and voila, our idea came to life.  A bit Santa Fe, a bit Wine Country and some water and mountains off to the distance.  And of course, an expanse of sky.  When we sat out there we felt like we had a special view of everything we like.  And it was after that that we wondered why on earth we hadn’t asked him to paint another wall.  We pondered that idea for several years.  Then we decided to move on it.

However by then Kris had unfortunately for us, moved to Edmonton and we dressed up the blank wall with a wall hanging and later on a mirror with plants in front.  We felt it needed something.   Fast forward to this past summer when I found Kris’s website and sent him an e-mail not even sure he’d remember me. Surprisingly he did.  By this time he had moved to Duncan, B.C. – at least it was a lot closer.  I told him my husband had passed away and that we had been talking for years about wanting to get him back to do some more art.  Luckily for me, Kris was Vancouver bound for several days just recently so we discussed the wall.  I thought Spring would be a perfect time to start however Kris was going traveling for a while and not sure exactly when he’d be back.  Since the weather was good and considering how well the other mural held up over the years, I decided to go ahead.

I wanted the older mural to be extended around the corner and a few other things added to the much smaller blank wall area; which would have not been in the original plan.

The work in progress:

Always start with a blank canvas

Draw it out for a rough draft

Get started.  Looks a bit sketchy.

Starting to take life

Just about finished.  I have to leave a little bit to the imagination.  There’s a few missing little details.  Group of photos: d. king

Mural Mural on the Wall – I’m very happy with the finished result.  He even put another protective coating on the first mural which had held up very well and re-painted a few things on the upstairs deck.  Oh yeah; he also painted some rocks, sagebrush, flowers, gekkos and butterflies on the upstairs deck.  Looks great.

Here’s a small sampling of his other diverse original works of art.  Kris not only paints murals. He started with that, however now he paints on canvas and panels mostly.

This painting of a Chinese flute player that has been called a fairy or spirit by some members of Edmonton’s Chinatown – Kris Friesen.

This Asian elephant moves forward into a stream of water while throwing up an airborne stream of dust. As much as I like the contrast between air and water my understanding of elephants suggests they might like it more, as their trunks can provide a unique medium between the two – Kris Friesen.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge saw Canadians advancing uphill against Germans defending their hardened positions. The mural depicts some of the terrible conditions Canadian troops would have experienced as they gutted out their rolling barrage. To emphasize the challenges soldiers faced I made the direction of the mural up and to the left, the most uneasy direction to look if viewed by a westerner, as we read left to right and downwards – Kris Friesen.

First Nations peoples utilized Alberta resources long before Europeans arrived, like this painting of a spring fishing camp, where walleye and pike are caught and prepared with stone tools at a northern stream. Fish that are not cooked or smoked are placed on wood racks to dry in the sun, while nearby two people seal a birch bark canoe with spruce pitch and bitumen – Kris Friesen.

Website:

http://krisfriesen.com/

 

Hidden treasures

where Art meets Fashion…

Here’s a story about a most remarkable renovation/restoration

This is something else I’ve been meaning to post because not only is it highly unusual, it’s extraordinary.

The 17th-century oil painting discovered behind a wall during construction of the Oscar de la Renta boutique in Paris. Credit: Julien Mignot for The New York Times

A new Oscar de la Renta boutique in New York was undergoing renovations three months ago when something unusual was discovered on the second floor. When workers were clearing out garbage and debris at the end of the space on that floor, something seemed definitely amiss.  As they were clearing and resurfacing, something else resurfaced.

Something had been hidden behind a wall, and it wasn’t asbestos. It was a 10-by-20-foot oil painting of an elaborately coiffed and dressed 17th-century marquis and assorted courtiers entering the city of Jerusalem.

The restoration is expected to be done by May. Credit: Julien Mignot for The New York Times

Teams of restorers swab away some of the varnish to allow colors to come through. Credit: Julien Mignot for The New York Times

Full Story here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/21/fashion/the-treasure-behind-the-wall.html